(Pocket-lint) - Apple's latest software build for its smartwatch - WatchOS 6 - brings numerous features with it.

Here we are rounding up some of the great new features available on the Apple Watch following the download of WatchOS 6.


WatchOS 6: The biggest features

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Dedicated App Store

WatchOS 6 brings a dedicated App Store to Apple Watch, allowing you to shop tens of thousands of apps and download them directly to your wrist. It means you don't need to have an app on your iPhone for it to be on your wrist. You can search the Apple Watch App Store using Siri, Scribble or Dictation and you can tap on an app and read all about it before downloading.

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Activity trends

Apple Watch is great for snapshot activity tracking, but WatchOS 6 makes it even better, offering access to all the other data your Watch captures without you perhaps realising. The WatchOS 6 software introduces a new Trends feature that shows whether a metric is heading up or down, from VO2 Max to walking pace.

Trends compares your latest 90-day averages to longer-term performances over a year to see how you're doing. If you're slacking, you'll get coaching suggestions to get you back on track.

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Female health tracking 

WatchOS 6 introduces female health tracking to Apple Watch - something the likes of Fitbit already offers. Female users can gain insight into their menstrual cycle, allowing them to track irregularities and symptoms, as well as learn windows of fertility.

Users will need to use the Cycle Tracking app to log daily information about their menstrual cycle, such as flow, along with symptoms like headaches or cramps and you'll also be able to add results from ovulation tests or basal thermometer readings.

You'll then be able to see cycle length and variation in a simple graphical chart on the redesigned Health app on iPhone, and you'll be alerted when a Fertile Window may start.


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Hearing health

WatchOS 6 continues to monitor health, with the latest focus being hearing. A Noise app monitors your environment's ambient noise and tracks the duration of your exposure.

You'll receive a notification on your Apple Watch when it detects a rise in the decibel level to a point that hearing could be affected, allowing you to step out of a crowded bar or use ear plugs to protect your ears.

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Enhanced Siri

Siri sees some improvements in the WatchOS 6 update. You'll can ask "What song is this" by just raising your wrist when you hear a new track you like, for example. You can also search a topic and scroll through the top results of web pages on your wrist rather than having to take out your iPhone.

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New Watch faces

Perhaps unsurprising, WatchOS 6 brings several new watch faces. There are several options, from fashionable to practical, such as one similar to Infograph but with a solid colour in the middle.

New complications also offer instant access to more apps and features with a tap, such as decibel labels, signal strength and weather information. In terms of time, you can set a chime to ring in a new hour, or hold two fingers on your watch face to hear the time out loud.

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Automatic Audiobooks syncing

Any Apple Books titles within your Reading Now list automatically sync to your Apple Watch in WatchOS 6. Tapping the cover and hitting play allows you to pick up where you left off, no matter which Apple device you were last reading on.

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Easier access to more Apple apps

WatchOS 6 brings easier access to more Apple access directly on your wrist, including Calculator, Voice Memos and a redesigned Reminders. You can start a voice recording from your wrist for example, as well as add a new reminder and open calculator on your wrist too. Watch out Casio, Apple Watch is coming for your calculator watch.

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Add an Animoji or Memoji to Messages

Messages sent from your Apple Watch can include Animoji and Memoji stickers with WatchOS 6, like you can when you send a message from your iPhone, so you can send that stroppy Panda or happy skull directly from your wrist. 

WatchOS 6: When can you try it?

WatchOS 6 is available to download now for Series 1 and newer Apple Watches.

WatchOS 6: Which Apple Watch models are compatible?

WatchOS 6 is available on the following Apple Watch devices: 

You will also need an iPhone 6S or newer, running iOS 13. Note that the original Apple Watch is not on the list, as it wasn't for WatchOS 5.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.